Why Lockdowns Do Not Save (Many) Lives By Brian Simpson

     I was hoping to cover this debate between writers in two leading financial sites about whether or not lockdowns work, with Joe Malchow and Yinon Weiss arguing, no, I think. But, I can’t assess the site without a subscription. Anyway, maybe you can access it:
  https://www.wsj.com/articles/do-lockdowns-save-many-lives-is-most-places-the-data-say-no-11587930911

     Then there is the reply to them by Ana Bendix, with the case study of Sweden being addressed which lockdowners do not devote much space to, but is taken on in this reply:
  https://www.businessinsider.com.au/coronavirus-lockdowns-successful-evidence-from-around-the-world-2020-4?r=US&IR=T

“The decision has incited criticism among public-health authorities who fear that the lack of restrictions will result in unnecessary deaths. In a joint article in the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Bo Lundback, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Gothenburg, called for “rapid and radical measures” to contain Sweden’s outbreak. As of writing, the country has nearly 12 times the number of COVID-19-related deaths than two other Nordic nations that imposed lockdowns: Finland and Sweden. Charts released by Pantheon Macroeconomics also show that Sweden’s number of new coronavirus cases is still on the rise. A recent Politico analysis also found that Sweden has a lower doubling time – the number of days it takes for coronavirus cases to double – compared to many other European countries, including France, Germany, Austria, and Spain. When the doubling time is low, the virus spreads more quickly. As of Monday, the number of coronavirus cases in Sweden was doubling every 18 days compared to every 53 days in Spain and Germany and every 151 days in Austria. That means Sweden’s outbreak could wind up being much more fatal than its death rate currently suggests. What’s more, the country hasn’t completely bypassed restrictive measures. High schools and universities are closed and Sweden has banned gatherings of more than 50 people. Residents are being asked to social distance in public and stay home if they’re sick or elderly. The strategy assumes that citizens will exercise personal responsibility – something that has been harder to enforce in other, larger countries. In Italy, by contrast hundreds of thousands of citizens received police citations for ignoring the country’s lockdown restrictions in the days after they went into effect. People continued to host events, break curfew, and wander outside, CNN reported. In Australia, similarly, Bondi Beach was packed with visitors in March despite guidelines to social distance, forcing the government to close the beach. And in London, people continued to crowd the subway even after train access was limited to essential workers. “While Sweden never instituted total lockdowns, many people followed the same social-distancing guidelines people during lockdowns were following,” Morris said. “If Sweden or any other place tried to deny the seriousness of COVID-19 and lived life ‘as usual,’ it is likely that incidence and death rates would have skyrocketed.”

     So, the debate goes on, but missing is a consideration of the economic consequences, which somehow does not get discussed in this context. How many people will die from poverty as economies are flattened? Some figures on that Ana, please!

 

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Friday, 19 August 2022